On Saturday, Nov. 7, the women’s swim team competed in a virtual meet, hopefully the first of many more this season. The Westmont swimmers competed against three other schools, finishing in second-overall with 425 points.
A virtual swim meet runs similarly to a traditional meet, except all participants compete at their own schools, take their own times and share their results, rather than meeting in one location. In this season of COVID-19, virtual competition has been a great way for teams to continue competing while keeping everyone safe.
Head Coach Jill Jones Lin noted that competing during a pandemic has been “really challenging, partially because a lot of teams are in different counties that have stricter regulations, and a lot of schools weren’t able to come back right away or full-on like Westmont was able to, so virtual meets really helped us out so we could get some times on the board.”
Since most of the swimmers haven’t been in the water for several months, the meet on Saturday served as a gauge for the rest of their season. The goal of the competition was to see where the swimmers were in terms of technique and endurance, rather than trying to beat personal records.
Even so, everyone on the team, including Coach Lin, seemed pleased with the team’s performance.
According to second-year member Morgan Bienias, “The outcome was pretty good for our first meet. The meet ran smoothly and felt like a ‘real’ meet … Two Westmont swimmers, Bridget [Hoth] and I, even took first in one of our events.”
To prepare for their first meet of the season, Coach Lin spoke with the swimmers about how to adapt to changes. She also provided them with a reading on how to mentally prepare for swim meets.
First-year student Cayla Won described her preparation for the virtual meet: “During practice I would pick things to specifically focus on, so that way when I got to the meet I could just go for it.” Outside of practice, Won said, “I just try to stay positive throughout the week; make sure that I’m doing OK and that I’m keeping up with classes so I’m not stressed out.”
Both Won and Bienias stressed the importance of eating well the week leading up to the meet, as well as getting enough sleep, to ensure that they are at their peak physical performance come competition day.
In preparation for their next meet, which will hopefully happen sometime next month, Coach Lin wants her swimmers to focus on endurance training as well as injury prevention.
Lin admitted, “We have quite a few girls out with injuries so we want to make sure that we’re taking our time, not rushing anything.”
With COVID-19 in mind, there is a lot less pressure to perform at their peak. Rather, Coach Lin sees this as an opportunity to grow stronger as an overall team. She said, “It’s not like we need to push through this year to win a national championship. We’re just trying to take it one step at a time and see what we need to do.”
The competition last Saturday proved a success, both in swimmers’ performances and in building team unity. From here, the women’s swim team knows exactly what they need to do to get stronger as a whole.